Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fun Tips and Giggles #8

Do you ever get in a free motion quilting rut?   Sometimes it is just easier to do stippling all over than to try and think of a design.

Worry no more.  Go and check out the infamous Leah Day's blog where she has over 365 free motion designs to teach you.  Each design has a sample and a small video where she shows you how to do it.   And even better, she has all her designs broken down by either Difficulty Level, Filler Design Type, Alphabetical and Directional.   It is free motion heaven!

Your little giggle for the day.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A Challenge Just For You and Quilt Tutorials Galore

What do you get when you take 4 crazy quilters from across Canada and ask them to  brainstorm?   Alot of smoke for starters, but when that settles you end up with an absolutely hilarious challenge that is sure to entice anyone to enter!

Our latest CQA/ACC challenge is called Where Do You Read 'The Canadian Quilter'?

How fun is that?   You only have to create a 12" x 12" quilt, interpreting the theme any way you want.
And get this, you don't have to mail it, just send us a picture of your quilt.  You have the chance to win prizes and the best part, get published in 'The Canadian Quilter'.   It really doesn't get any better than that.

Contest ends March 25, 2013.   Come on, head into your studio and create some fun!

Find out all the details here.

To find some great inspiration, you should check out this website of quilt tutorials.  It is done by 'Jenny' from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. and they are all videos.   They range from making a circle quilt to  stack'n'whack to a pinwheel quilt.   Check it out for inspiration and ideas for your challenge.

Excellence for Original Design Realistic Pictorial Wallquilt -3rd place
by Sharon Boucher  'Gargoyle'

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Fun Tips and Giggles #7

Happy Valentine's Day Quilters!  Is this picture not the most perfect gift from that special someone?

Remember the days when this was all a quilter had to use to iron their precious fabric?   

Read the bottom line on this 1950 invoice.  

Hope this gave you a little laugh as you head to your studio to quilt up a storm.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Quilting Is Art Therapy - An Interview with Patricia MacAulay

        Patricia MacAulay has perhaps one of the most interesting jobs a creative person can have. Her job title is an art therapist.   She has incorporated her love of quilting into her profession with wonderful results.  Read on to meet this remarkable woman.
     Where do you live?

I live in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. This is a town of about 3000 people, located in the western Arctic at the end of the Dempster Highway that runs north from the Yukon. It's also connected to more northern communities for at least part of the year by ice road. We're about 100 km south of the Arctic Ocean and 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. We're so far north that we have about 60 days of continuous sunlight in the summer and 30 days of darkness in late December and early January. We typically have snow from September until May. The town was founded in 1953 as an administrative centre for the region. 

Taken on a nice spring morning in Tuktoyaktuk. Behind Patricia is the Beaufort Sea. 

Do you belong to a quilting guild?

Yes, I am a member of the Inuvik Quilting Guild. I take part in the Guild workshops held throughout the year. I am a beginner and I am learning a lot through these workshops.

    Can you tell me what an art therapist does?

An art therapist is a trained psychotherapist who facilitates creative expression from people who are experiencing emotional conflict and/or are seeking experiences of growth and understanding. We know that the memories of emotionally resonant experiences are stored as bodily sensations and as images, therefore more hands-on and visual approaches can help access difficult and/or meaningful emotions associated with such experiences.

I always say that art therapy helps us remember who we really are. If we know ourselves well, we can live our lives with more purpose and integrity and also with greater joy. Finally, I should say that those of us involved in creative endeavours are well aware of the meditative quality of such experiences. There is an inherent calming and soothing that comes with creating with our hands.

You mention that you work with students, what age group? 

I work with students from kindergarten to Grade 6 at an elementary school in a small northern community. This is my fourth year in this position, and I've seen a lot of growth and change over that time. Individuals and families who are native to this community have been ravaged by the process of colonization. Ancient cultural traditions and teachings have been eradicated, family ties have been broken, and people have suffered considerable physical, emotional, and sexual violence, initially from the colonizers and ultimately from members of their own families and  community. 

People have been trying to cope with the unimaginable hurt and pain associated with such violation and dislocation. Some cope well by maintaining strong bonds with family, community, and the land. Many, however, are lost in a world of substance abuse and violence. I mostly work with the children and grandchildren of those who experienced significant pain associated with the residential school system and other aspects of the colonization process. 

The effects of such deeply traumatic experiences can be felt for generations. I see my work as a means of helping this current generation process their feelings and find their own self-worth. I get to witness little miracles on a daily basis as I watch children find their courage and their sense of self even in the midst of considerable chaos. That is a very worthwhile and satisfying experience. 

I should also note that art therapy processes are particularly appropriate for cross-cultural work. Less verbal, less directive approaches allow people to make their own choices and create their own meaning.
You told me you save fabric from your guild, for what purpose?

     Whenever I attend guild events, the members always save their scraps for me. They are very generous in many ways, including this one. I use these scraps for myself and for my little clients. As you might imagine, this type of work can be quite draining for me. I need to have my own creative outlet in order to process my own feelings and to find my sense of self again after being exposed to the pain and distress of those around me. I find that I need to be able to do quick, easy projects that are soothing and satisfying for me. Those scraps are a godsend. I use them at home to make rugs, wreaths,  and structures that I call "spirit houses." These simple projects allow me to use my hands, to experience soothing and repetitive motion, to let go of rigid and unhelpful stances, and to find joy and beauty at the end of the day. 

     Using these scraps is a metaphor for my belief in our human ability to make something beautiful with whatever is at hand. I don't believe that we need perfection and wealth in order to find happiness. We just need to be able to use what we have available to us. The projects themselves are very meaningful to me. They represent my own wholeness and my attention to my spirit and its need for a safe and nurturing home within me.

      Is fabric a medium you use as a form of therapy in the classroom? 
      For my clients, the scraps have served a variety of purposes, but probably the most common one is for a very basic form of quilt making. I have had a number of girls, usually in Grade 5 or 6, who spontaneously begin gathering the scraps together in order to make their version of a "quilt." As they put the pieces together, sometimes with a sewing needle, perhaps even with a stapler or a roll of tape, they become very absorbed in the experience and through their conversation and their non-verbal expression, some of the meaning of the experience unfolds for me. 

     I see that they are getting in touch with their femininity, finding solace in the process, and expressing a need for all that a quilt can represent - warmth, comfort, familiarity, and safety. This is particularly touching in some scenarios such as one girl who had spent most of her life in foster care and who longs for her mother's presence. She spent several weeks on her "quilt," often closing her eyes and rubbing her face in the fabric. One can only be awed and moved by being a privileged witness to the expression of such a personal and primal expression. 

     Just recently, I witnessed "quilt making" as another phenomenon for a young girl in Grade 5. For her, the process seemed to be an expression of her sense of competence. She believed that this was something she could pull off and was taking great pride in every square that she added. Wow! How wonderful to see a girl feel that way about herself! Another example of the way that creative processes mean different things for different people.

    Are you a quilter as well? And does that overlap with your job as an art therapist?
     I would call myself an "emerging" quilter. A few years ago, I felt a strong desire to work with fabric. I bought a sewing machine before I came north and I took a basic sewing course my first winter here. I found that I had to overcome feelings associated with previous unsuccessful experiences with sewing and I went at my learning in fits and starts, as time and energy permitted. 

     Our local guild president offers quilting workshops that suit me perfectly. She sets up a safe and structured environment, gives us the basic information we need, and lets us find our own way with her support. At my first workshop with her, I overcame my fear of the machine, and since then I have been sewing quite happily. So far, I have made many, many quilting squares, and I am just learning to piece them together.  I am sure that I will eventually produce a quilt, but I am in no rush. For me, it's about the process, not the product. 

     I am a mixed media artist, and for me quilting is like another form of assemblage or collage work. Fabric gives me more options for my artistic expression. Also, the quilting workshops offer a soothing and collaborative environment that does my heart good and helps me feel more peaceful and grounded when I am doing my client work.

     What benefits do you see in the children by working with fabric?

Not all but quite a number of the children I work with have not have the bonding and nurturing experiences that provide a solid foundation for subsequent emotional development. Touching fabric can take them back to their early days and help them find a sense of safety and comfort. It's my hope that even such a brief encounter with that basic human experience can give them sufficient strength to move forward in their lives. The human spirit can do a lot with very little, with some support and encouragement. I am hoping that even a "scrap" of such an experience will serve them as they grow and learn.

Thank you Patricia for providing such a wonderful service to those lovely children and sharing your insightful thoughts with us!

Friday, 8 February 2013

WIP #4

Have you heard of Jelly Roll races?   The Blue Mountain quilt guild of Port Coquitlam BC is familiar with this event.

This is one of the ways they racked up their inches for the Stitch Across Canada challenge.  They did this as part of their program and it only took 2 hours!

To find out more about the Jelly Roll race and how to do one, you can check out this excellent video.

Have you ever visited the Moda Bake Shop?  They post a new project every single day!  Many are quilts and you can even select projects based on their packaging of fabric, such as their 'layer cakes' 'charm packs' etc.   Here are all the fun things you can create with jelly rolls.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Jill Buckley-Our Artist in Residence

You know there are those quilters that are just in a league all on their own?  Our very own Artist in Residence Jill Buckley is one of them.

Tell us a little about yourself.
 I am a self taught artist with a background in the garment industry. I began working in sewing factories as a teen, first as a machine operator and later in cutting and design rooms. I learned a great deal in those days and eventually was able to strike out on my own as a custom designer/garment maker. I have a fabulously supportive husband and we have two grown children. When I am not quilting my other creative pursuits include; drawing, knitting, beading, gardening and blogging

What got you into quilting?
 A number of years ago, a friend and I attended The Grand National Quilt show in Kitchener, Ontario. I cannot put into words just how completely fascinated and inspired I was by what I saw displayed on those gallery walls. I knew immediately that I had to explore this medium. It would be a few more years before taking the plunge, but instantly the quilting world had me firmly in its grasp and I am excited to be a part of it.

You are CQA/ACC's 'Artist in Residence', tell us a little about that.

 First, let me say that I am delighted to hold this position. My role as such, requires me to be artist, designer, creator, author and photographer all rolled into one. As a result, I believe my skills in all of these areas are continually improving.

Being aware that CQA/ACC members have a wide range of interests and skill levels, I am trying to create projects that reflect this. Some will be simpler than others. It is my hope that the projects I share, may inspire, motivate and perhaps offer solutions. I provide my original patterns and instructions in each issue for members use, but of course quilters are welcome and encouraged to create these designs in the technique of their choosing.
 'The Canadian Quilter' Spring 2012

Is there a technique in quilting you are passionate about.
One? You want me to pick one? Oh no, that is just not possible. I love it all, from hand work to free motion quilting, traditional to contemporary. Let me play with fabric, thread, paint, inks, discharge paste, dyes and anything else I can get my hot little hands on. I love exploring and discovering marvelous ways to create. Can you think of a better way to spend the day?

What are some of your favourite things about quilting?
Quilting is filled with opportunities. Those include the possibility to exhibit, to learn, lecture, teach, publish, judge and especially to meet and share with quilters everywhere.

I am drawn to quilting's seemingly endless possibilities and the freedom to attempt whatever my imagination can conjure up.

Does anything frustrate you when it comes to quilting?
There just might be, but I have not encountered it yet.

What is your next quilt related goal?
Interesting question Jackie, you know, I don't really set "goals". Perhaps because I fear I might become so obsessed with trying to achieve a particular goal, that I may miss other opportunities. I enjoy the spontaneity of going in whatever direction I choose on any given day.

I have heard other artists say that setting goals keeps them from procrastinating, ensures that they produce and finish works on a more frequent basis, as well as with meeting deadlines.
Being self employed for many years, left me with a great sense of self discipline when it comes to getting things done. These days, it is creative time that takes priority.

What is your favourite food to eat while quilting?
 EAT? While quilting? uh, well, coffee food? Actually, quilting is great for my waistline. I find that because I tend to become so engrossed in my projects, I rarely think about food. 

Jill's blog is one of a kind filled with wonderful tidbits of education and inspiration.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Stitch Across Canada #5

Get stitching your inches!  We are going to need every last one this next month to get us right to Victoria, BC.   We only have one more month to go and we just passed Calgary.

Check out what the Georgina Pins and Needles guild had to say when they sent in their monthly inches.
 Gaile Statkus writes:
Our first planning meeting was held August 11, 2008 with 9 persons involved.  We did not have a budget for speakers or workshop leaders so the Executive and members volunteered to share their knowledge with the group. 
 Lone Star quilt by Elizabeth Robinson
The first year was very exciting.   Some members had no experience quilting, but were interested in learning. Our first workshop, with three members attending, was held in September.
Each year membership has grown to our current membership of 34 very talented individuals.  
3D Butterfly Garden by Gaile Statkus

Maple Leaf Charity quilt by Alice-Faye Vandermeer

Charity projects have always been an important part of the guild, with shopping bags, preemie blankets, quilts and more being donated by our generous members.  Library displays, and school projects with the children has helped the guild grow.
Houses by Karin Boecker

Little Fat Cat by Lenka Kovachis

This is it Canadian quilters, one more month and a whole lot of km's to cover. Let's finish this challenge one inch at a time!